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TOP TEN TALKS FROM TED2016.

Summary: For planners, nothing gets the brain cells zzing quite like the TED conference. After taking in 100 of the stimulating talks and demos last week, our man in Vancouver, Kevin Chesters, picks out those you simply cannot afford to miss

TED in 2016 was (predict- ably) brilliant, again. Not just because of the truly world-class quality of the speakers. Not just because eve- rything happens consecutively so you never have to miss a single thing. Not just because it makes your brain literally ache. And not just because you get to chat to people such as Steven Spielberg and Simon Sinek in the same coffee break. Actually, it is because of all of those things and a few more besides.

I was once told that the job of the planner is to always bring something interesting and useful to the table. The TED conference gives you enough useful and interest- ing things to last a whole year (or basically until the next TED conference). I saw more than 100 talks and some mind-bending tech demos over four amazing days. Here are ten talks to watch for:

1.

Al Gore . An amazing speaker. Anyone would think he was a politician. He basically updated us all on the progress towards solving the climate crisis. Do we have to change? Can we change? Will we change? The great news is that itseems he's optimistic we're winning the battle -- espe- cially through the massive,unprecedented growth in renewable energies such as wind and solar. Phew.

2 .

Astro Teller. He is the "captain of moonshots" at Google's research anddevelopment facility, X. Now, apart from having a cool name (and slightly ridic-ulous job title), he is in charge of all those amazing Google projects that soundmental but are actually bril- liant. He took us throughthings such as Project Loon -- the initiative to ring the stratosphere with balloons to bring free internet access to four billion people. Slightly bonkers, eminently doable.

3 .

Shonda Rhimes. The cre- ator of Scandal and Grey's Anatomy gave an electrifying talk on the addictive nature of being a workaholic. She lost her creative mojo (or "hum", as she calls it) and only regained it by learning to embrace play as well as work. Her talk is already up on TED.com.

4 .

Parag Khanna. He showed us a new way to redraw/ modernise the world mapbased on economic and com- munications connections, not outdated 19th-century

concepts such as sovereignty or physical borders. Really thought-provoking, looking at the emergence of global mega-city clusters andwhat it means for the future of world security. It's good for it, by the way. Thankfully.

5 .

Dalia Mogahed. She was brilliant, talking about what it means to be Muslim in the United States at a time when extreme-right views seem to be gaining such trac- tion nationally. Compelling, humbling, slightly depress- ing but ultimately positive.

The quote that stayed with me? "Isis has as much to do with Islam as the KKK doeswith Christianity."

6 .

Adam Foss. A young legal prosecutor who has become obsessed with how we need to keep young males out of prison rather than putting more of them behind bars. Prisons are too expensive and they aren't working. He wants to put that right by concentrating on prevention versus prosecution. Smart guy.

7 .

Lidia Yuknavitch. Her presentation was probably the one I remember most from the week. She gave a spellbinding talk on what it is to be a misfit, taking us through her life that has involved two failed mar- riages, dropping out of college, prison and home- lessness. Stunning stuff.

8 .

Michael Murphy. This architect gave a brilliant talk on how architecture has the power to heal -- literally and metaphorically. He talked about redesigning hos- pitals to make people well and the new project to build a memorial for those lynched in the US South as a way to heal the scars of slavery that never went away.

9 .

Kang Lee. This researcher has been working on a machine that can detect when we lie. It was brilliant. It turns out that there is something called the Pinocchio Effect -- blood flow increases to our noses when we tell porky-pies. He can detect this with theTransdermal Optical Imager". Cool.

10 .

Alexander Betts. From the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford, Betts gave a brilliant talk on how we should look again at the refugee problem, reclassify- ing migrants as potential contributors, not burdens. He wants to change the nar- . Vital stuff (next-level virtual-reality gaming) or Chris Milk's livedemo of his films via Google Cardboard. Or the usual mass-drone shizzle that wasjust bed-wettingly brilliant for a geek like me.

There were also fantastic music performances from art- ists including John Legend and Amanda Palmer. Oh, and I

noticed that there seems to be a uniform among tech billion- aires and Silicon Valley success stories -- grey V-necked jump- ers with a white T-shirt underneath, in case you're thinking of replicating. My wife always says I'msimultaneously at my most interesting and most annoy- ing in the week I get back from TED. My head swim- ming with 1,001 things I've

heard and seen that I just can't wait to tell people about. I'd avoid sitting next to me on the bus for a few weeks if I were you.

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Publication:Campaign Middle East
Date:Mar 6, 2016
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